Moving from one location to another presents many challenges for anyone, but it can be especially tough on kids.If it's their first time moving, the process may feel mysterious and disruptive. Making new friends and adjusting to a new school can be exciting, but these changes also bring up anxiety.
According to Parenthood.com, children focus on the big picture when it comes to moving. They need answers to their questions in order to feel more confident about moving to a new place.
Here are some common questions kids might have about moving and wise ways to answer them. Hopefully, these tips from Apartment Guide will help facilitate an open dialogue with your children about an upcoming move.
Question: Why are we moving?
The best answer to this question is honest, simple and straightforward. For instance: “your mother got a new job” or “we want to live closer to your grandparents.” Highlight positive aspects of the move, such as the opportunity to exploring a new neighborhood or being able to visit grandparents for sleepovers.
In anticipation of the move, if your child is experiencing negative feelings, you can be the one to ask more questions about the source of worry. Discussing the situation calmly and thoroughly will help kids become more comfortable with the moving plan.
Question: Where are we moving? When?
When your children ask about logistics, share as much information as you can. Time can be a difficult concept for younger children, so use colorful markers to mark your moving date on a family calendar. Together, you can check off the days leading up to moving day.
Another way to ease anxiety is by showing them where their new home is on a map. Show them photos of their new home and neighborhood. If you’re moving within the same city, take them on a tour to see where they’ll be living and attending school.
Question: What will my new room be like? Will I have my own room?
This question provides an excellent opportunity to get your children excited about the move. Draw or describe the layout of their new room, and invite them to help you arrange their furniture or redecorate as a creative project! Older kids might enjoy using a site like Pinterest to make a virtual bulletin board of ideas for their room. Encourage little ones to use their imagination and draw pictures of their dream room.
Question: What about my friends?
Depending on the age of your kids, this question may be more or less intense. Teenagers who find themselves switching schools may have a harder time grappling with the thought of leaving friends behind and making new ones. The teenage years are a challenging time when drastic changes like a move can feel like the end of the world, at least temporarily. Be sensitive to kids' feelings, especially those who seem depressed by the idea of moving.
Fortunately, even if they are moving miles away, kids can keep in touch via phone or online chatting. For an across-town move, reassure children that they can visit with their friends again soon.
Question: What will my new school be like?
One of the scariest things for children moving to a new neighborhood or city is what the new school environment will be like. The prospect of making new friends, meeting new teachers, and learning their way around the building can be overwhelming. So be honest about the aspects that will stay the same as their previous school, such as lunch break, recess, lockers, and those that differ, such as new classmates, teachers and classrooms. If possible, take them to tour the school before they actually start classes. The more they can feel prepared, the less stressful their first day will be.
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These are just a few of the multitude of questions your kids may have regarding moving. No matter what they ask, answer thoughtfully and with a positive, encouraging attitude. In the months after the move, it might be helpful to plan a weekly family meeting where anyone (parents included!) can discuss worries or new questions they have as they arise. The effort you make before the move will make moving day easier for your children and more enjoyable for your entire family!